Lady Night

"It burned in blue, and wave by wave the sky darkened through the melting dusk. Waiting eagerly for the silver stars of lady night.'

Working on some watercolour techniques. I am really happy with the result of this one.  wrote the words above and then this came through. The stars here are as amazing as Niue. I feel the beginning of a series. 

Lady Night

Moons and Mooses

According to the local grapevine, moose sightings have been rather rare of late in the Chilcotin. On the last full moon and the summer solstice, I was lucky enough to have my first sighting. A Mum and calf down by the pond's edge, spotted while we were eating breakfast. By the time we edged down closer they had disappeared back into the trees. An amazing moment! Here's my first little sketch of these beauties as an ode to that moment

On the Lake

There are not many places where you can look towards land and know that you are the only human for millions of acres, for as far as your eyes can see. 

There are not many places where the water is so pure that you can dip your hands in and drink straight from the lake.

There are not many places left, where the only sounds are the odd eagle cry and your paddle slicing the water. 

This is one place.

Chilko Lake


One and a half hours to the post office to fulfil my citizen duty, one hour trying to find a public official to witness (only to realise there was none available within a 3 hour drive), and 1.5 hours home. One vote now lodged from remote BC. 

I think it was actually quicker than being at home (Alas no sausage sizzle though). 

As not ideal as the choices are this time round - whatever you do, don't donkey. Get informed and make your vote count this weekend. We're lucky we can!

Leave Her Wild

To celebrate my 1st and 2nd Grizzly spotting, this little bear and her babe are currently in progress at the Chilcotin studio.

Bearly here.


My first Grizzly sightings.

Out riding on the ATVs today and in the distance, we spotted this 400 pound honey wandering across a mountain.

Also saw my first Grizzly up close yesterday - as he bounded in front of our car down the road. Amazing!

It seems I am not the only one using this pathway too! 







Thank you so much to everyone for the beautiful birthday wishes! You made my day, you awesome people! 

Over my Australian - Canadian birthday I did a bit of road tripping across the countryside to go to town twice. The first was a three hour round-trip to the local town. My road tripping partner - an elderly Tsilhqot'in lady. We understood about 60 per cent of what each other was saying but managed to somehow got each other and laugh as I tried to navigate the roads. The nextday was a six-hour road trip to the main grocery store and birthday lunch in town. Came back home to this beautiful scenery and rainbows coming across the mountain and some cute little pressies from my Canadian fam. 

And today, on the way to a secluded little lake to go fishing for rainbow trout, I saw my FIRST BEAR!!! A 300 pound honey-golden Grizzly bounding down the road in front of us!! And THEN I saw a black bear!! Birthday bears all round!


Snowing in Summer!! Awoke to a sea of white this morning. Magic!! A few sprinkles on our Chilcotin Dart Board too. 

Chilcotin Darts

Welcome to Chilko

Turquoise waters so pure, you can drink straight from the lake, gazing at logs resting in the depths below. The most striking, absolute silence surrounds us. All we can hear are sounds of our own making. Snow-topped jagged mountains tower above and peek through the clouds. The odd bald eagle soars past us. 

For as far as we can see, we are the only people here.

Welcome to Chilko.

Welcome to another world.

Vancouver to Vancouver

Mountain tackling was on the cards. The pick of the deck for us was Hamilton Mountain in Beacon Rock State Park. Located near Vancouver, Washington State, this classic Gorge hike is a nine-mile loop passes Hardy and Rodney Falls, and then rolls up around sheer cliffs to amazing views.

Guiding our way up the mountain was spots of wildflowers strung out along the pathway, with pit stops at the Pool of Winds, a waterfall where you can stand beside it and feel it spray on your face.  

From above, line after line after line of trees zig zag. like a million jagged heartbeats stretching  out to the horizon. Stitch upon stitch in all the shades - teal to hunter to viridian -  weaving a 5,100 acre palace together. Near the summit, we discovered a little opening. When I climbed down the little pathway, a curve and a little ledge at the end greeted me. It took me be surprise, as suddenly I was looking out my own secret gate to the Columbia, eyes scanning to an 1,800 feet drop below. Lungs expanding, head spinning, the wind picking up speed and grabbing my hair, like it wanted to pull me closer, and I edged back carefully and back up to the rocky embankment. Closer to the top, the ground transformed, so full of moisture, we bounced as we strolled. At the summit, neighbouring Beacon Rock pokes out above the mighty Colombia River, and in the distance, Mount Hood hovers over all. Washington State, a trail hunter's paradise. 

Hamilton Mountain, Washington State, USA

Hamilton Mountain, Washington State, USA


During my year at the Clifton Castle (the best share house in Newcastle City), I roomed with three Western Washington alumni, who all lived in Bellingham, so I was keen to check out this town I had heard so much about. It did not disappoint. The best introduction to a town you could have. 

Within the first 10 minutes of being in the town, we heard cheers and yells coming from up the street, when our friend, Jeanie yelled out 'Yes!!! It's the Naked Bike Ride!'. 

Two hundred naked and semi-clad people started rolling down the street past us to the cheers of everyone in the pubs and sidewalks.

It doesn't need to be said, but Bellingham, you will be hard to beat. 

On my last night in America, while throwing darts in a tiny pub in Bellingham, I ended up meeting this man called Nick who is a Media and Marketing Advisor for Bear Trek and Wild Life Media, which features one of the world’s leading bear experts and conservation leaders. Fate is funny, isn't it!

His girlfriend, Sara, is an artist. They make these amazing murals called ArtQuakes. In anticipation of the Great Quake, they have turned a safety message into a work of art. These murals show people where to head in the event of an emergency. Sara also ended up telling me about a book specialising in botanical dyes. Perfect! 

The next day, as Hannah and I said our goodbyes until our European adventures next year, Hannah said to me ‘write with absolute honesty and heart, Kate. Tell EVERYTHING.’ Both of us over the years have talked about our love for adventure, but also shared the challenges that come with a heart and soul that always wants to wander and the realities of a life on the road or in remote locations. Couldn't think of a better person to see me off for this next stage. 


It was then on to the other Vancouver to stay with my honorary Canadian familia! 

Glen, Karissa and Lola (seriously the cutest little doggy in the world) arrived in Canada about a month before I did, so I was their first visitor. We went out for dinners and lunches, overlooking the Bay and watching the sunset at what will be my last look at the ocean for awhile. I snuck in some last-minute shopping before adventuring.

When we were kids, Glen and I's family spent nearly every day together, so he has always felt like a little brother. As life happens, it's been a long, long time since we have hung out though, so it was really special to spend some time chilling out together as adults that wasn't hurried hellos at a birthday party or BBQ. Thanks Glen & Karissa!

Pre-adventure adventures have been filled with good people and good signs!

Thank you to everyone who invited me into their hearts and their homes in the lead-up and through the USA and Vancouver. I appreciated and treasured every moment with you all xxx

It was the best prep I could have for this next stage. Where the Adventure Begins. Part I: Chilko... 


WINK Pens!


A few days after Sasquatch!, I was sitting hundreds of miles and six hours away in Portland with Hannah and Kella, sharing a few bevies. It popped up in my newsfeed that the Kickstarter Launch for The Important Project was happening in Portland right then. A 13 minute walk from where we were at Departures on the Rooftop. I can only conclude that it is indeed fate. 

While I was at the launch, I went to check out the artist’s stores and got to chatting with Jessica Chan, whose product I fell instantly in love with. 

WINK PENS! This pen is a one-of-a-kind, refillable glass fountain pen and built to write with alternative inks such as wine, juice or tea, or any kind of liquid that contains a staining property. The opportunities are endless - think food colouring, botanical juices like berries and leaves, soy sauce, you name it! Each pen is handcrafted and is a hybrid between a dip pen and a fountain pen (in that it is both manually fed and also contains an in-reservoir).

As most of the people on my Facebook would be aware, I accidentally started a series called the Tea Tales. Where, in the time it takes me to drink a cup of tea, I draw a little picture from the base of the cup (on occasion, I sometimes adapt this to other glasses, like wine...obviously depending on how good that day is!). This little exercise has ended up growing and becoming a little passion project!


Later, Jessica’s fiancee told me that when I saw the pens and that I could draw with any kind of liquid, my face lit up. I told Jessica that I thought it was the best idea ever but I wouldn’t be able to purchase anything at the moment, as I was on a strict budget for my adventure. 

Twenty-four hours later, I was sitting in a diner in Vancouver, Washington State, chatting with Jessica. She had made me an amazing little pack of goodies to play with and explore with on my adventures out in the Wild and has asked me to be a brand ambassador for Wink Pens.

I am just so excited and honoured to be a part of this adventure and I can’t wait to explore Wink Pens with the Tea Tales! Thanks Jessica and the Wink Pens team!


Sasquatch! Music Festival was the highlight of my pre-adventure adventures. An annual music festival held at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington on the Memorial Day weekend for four days. Our crew consisted of Hannah and I and three of her mates from a former workplace.

We roadtripped up to Seattle and out to East Washington and watched the landscape morph from vivid greens and trees to deep rivers and a brown and granite lands. Resting at gorges and roadside stores along the way.

Sasquatch was my first four-day music festival and I could happily live there. The Gorge is touted as the most beautiful venue in the USA. It lives up to its promise. 

In the camping grounds, there is a city of thousands of tents, wagons and buses from all nationalities and cultures. The characters extreme but on the most part, happy. People letting their freak flags fly high.

What was the best performance? It's hard to say - there were so many standouts. 

Alabama Shakes tore the house down. We met a woman who had travelled from the OC to Washington State by herself just to see the Alabama Shakes. She had never been to a festival or camped before, and couldn’t find anyone to go to Sasquatch so she bought a ticket, drove the couple of days trip by herself, set her tent up and partied on. What a legend! 

Grimes was everything. Four years ago, when I first came to America, I had searched everywhere for tickets to see her perform. Timing meant it didn’t work out. So it was a special moment seeing her intensity on stage, thinking about the last four years and where I had been. Grimes - the soundtrack to my own personal Olympics. The dancers ruled us all with daggers, killer glasses and a whole heap of attitude. Grimes's weird little huffs, puffs and grunts in between smiles and acidic beats, screaming in Russian and all things in between. From sugar sweet humble apologies to wailing Taiwanese death metal screams. She took us everywhere.  

Sufjan Stevens. Strange Sufjan. Surreal Sufjan. Sweet Sufjan. Soulful Sufjan. This man gave me a spiritual experience. I had never heard of him before I saw him walk out on stage in giant angel wings and an African-influenced neon tracksuit to sing a lullaby and then smash some banjos. He re-appeared in an outfit that looked like a giant cooked potato covered in aluminium foil and then he was dancing in about 40 balloons. I know I had tears in my eyes at his music. I wasn't the only one. Beautiful. 

Florence + the Machine owned the stage. It felt like she was singing directly at me. I think everyone felt that way. Demanding the stage, she asked us all to be her ‘choir of hungover angels’ and her status as Queen was confirmed when a girl from the audience crowned her with a floral wreath. We were lucky enough to be a few arm's length from the stage. The energy was amazing. So amazing, one couple standing directly in front of me were in the throes of ecstasy - with each other - spurred on by the natural kind and the chemical kind, I would say. So myself and three others that were squished against them in the crowd were forced into a swaying motion with them. Probably one of the more stranger experiences I have had at a concert. 

We also saw Major Lazer, Disclosure, M83, and slivers of Caribou. The greatest find for me (besides Sufjan) was Allen Stone. That boy has a set of lungs on him! 

I don’t do drugs, and had decided to do Sasquatch alcohol-free anyway because I still wasn’t recovered from L.A. When people were asking me if I was ‘rolling’, I figured it was a term to mean ‘rolling along with the good times'. Turns out no. Probably one of the more memorable characters we met was this man, known by many as “Go Fuck Your Self”. Anytime anyone asked him something, he would say “Go F*#! Your Self” in a range of tones. It was the answer to anything and everything. I asked him if they were the only words he knew. He said ‘Yes, she gets it!! SHE gets it!’ Turns out he knew seven words! A few days later, we stumbled across GFYS in the portaloo line. He had had an epiphany. He informed us that after taking some acid, and lying in a field for four hours, he realised that really it was about Go Loving Your Self. The GFYS had become the GLYS. Sasquatch it seems had worked its magic. 

About 99 per cent of festival goers we met were some of the most generous you could meet. Bangles and little messages of love were being handed out all over the place by attendees and besides Florence, there was always space to move and dance to your own beat in the crowd.

The music was sublime. The dancing amazing. The vibes - just a whole load of happy!. 

Camping. Music. My best friend. New friends. A top-notch crew. Nothing but fresh air and good vibes. I'm in for Sasquatch 2017. 


At Portland, Oregon, I dropped my bags and ran when I saw this girl! Hannah is affectionately known to my sister and I as our American sister. We haven't seen each other in person for 2.5 years, so loud squeals and running through the airport were absolutely called for. 

Hannah and I became housemates within 10 minutes of meeting each other. I stumbled over to Newcastle Backpackers, which was across the park from our place - the Clifton Castle - on the insistence of a German man. He told me he thought he had found my housemate. I went over, said ‘come check my place out, bring your suitcase’. Hannah moved in a few minutes later, and so began six months of early morning surf sessions, laughing, crazy dress-ups, travelling and adventuring during some wild and wooly times at the Clifton Castle. 

In the years since, life between the two of us, has taken us to five different continents (including one of us living in the middle of the Pacific and one in a remote village in rural Africa). Love, triumpths, losses, good jobs, bad jobs - we have kept each other up-to-date through Messenger writing long letters, in a manner reminiscent of pen pals of the days of old. 

Wandering souls know other wandering souls. As Hannah's Mum aka Mama Nancy said to us, 'You Girls! You have adventure inside you. You are not made to stay still and I don't think you would be satisfied with that. One day you might and it could be soon, who knows, but for now you both have the call of the world.' 

When you travel for big periods and months on end, you start realising that you leave your heart scattered in many homes and people around the world. So times like this are especially treasured. 

Hannah arrived from Germany in the days before me and so we spent the next 10 days taking it easy, exploring, hanging out, catching up with each other and ourselves, road tripping, hiking and chilling out. We also squeezed some Sasquatch Festival in too! (more on that later).

The nicest part was meeting some of Hannah's family, placing many faces to many names of friends I have heard about over the years, and exploring her backyard. As it turns out her backyard is one of the prettiest and most peaceful places on the planet <3


A migration is defined as a journey with a clear purpose from one area or region to another, often following a well-defined route to a familiar destination, and often at a specific season or time, for life and for survival. 

In a modern-day human migration, one not dictated by war or seeking asylum, the backpacking route fills a need for change and exploration for many people. You only have to look at the success of stories like Wild, Eat Pray Love, On the Road, The Beach and The Motorcycle Diaries that document the author's growth and lessons on their travels to see its resonance and relevancy to the general public. These voyages were littered with nourishment for the author's soul in new adventures, new people and, thus, new perspectives on living.

It might be a passing comment from a stranger or travelling companion, but I feel like when I am in the travelling flow and open to the world, it can sometimes feel like someone is carrying a message designed for me, or, on occasion, I have one I am meant to deliver in return.

It's like when we are moving, we flow with life a little better than when we stand still and wait for life to arrive towards us or follow the paths constructed by society that we lay out for ourselves. Those people you meet on these adventures can unwittingly and unknowingly play a vital part of that journey, delivering the insights and signs you need at the exact time.

So it came that I met Reza and his adventure, through my good mate Corey, at the exact point I needed. 

Reza is a survival expert and had recently completed a journey through Africa with National Geographic’s new show Mygrations. Mygrations follows a team of 20 men and women crossing hundreds of miles of scorched savannah, as they set out on foot, unarmed and without a map or compass, to follow in the footsteps of the wildebeest migration.

REZA has one of those families where I instantly wanted to hug all of them. When we walked in the door for this family gathering, we were instantly embraced into the fold as we all settled around the big screen to watch the debut. The first episode was showcasing all the emotions and the fears that the 'human herd' was going through in the first days arriving in Africa and getting ready to set out on their expedition. They were all fears I recognised. One person quit because they were out of their comfort zone, one person left due to PTSD and one person to injury. I could feel and recognise echoes of it in my own journey. 

I looked at Reza sitting there amongst his proud family, and thought, ‘You know what, I am not exiting in the first show. What I am experiencing is the phases of fear - being sick is a valid reason, of course. But I have visited this fear place before. Fear and I have encountered each other many times. While fear is vital, it is still so easy to be confused between feelings of fear and instinct. While I am not crossing the Savannah by any means, I am stepping outside my comfort zone. These feelings are part of the cycle of all adventures. There is no shame in exit and listening to your instinct. My body IS under attack, but I know I can push forward, I know the best place I can be is on this new adventure and I know I can physically nurture myself better'. Just seeing this, made some of the confusion I was feeling slip away.  

While everyone was eating pizza, one of the family members (not knowing about my upcoming adventure) mentioned about how if there was any place they wouldn’t go to do a survival show, that they wouldn’t go to Canada. Because of the bears and the wolves. Corey looked over at me and grinned. I grinned back. 

THE NEXT MORNING as we were waiting for the shuttle, Reza showed me a few things from Survival School, teaching me how to light a fire on his porch. As he was rubbing the spindle up and down the fireboard and I looked on, trying to absorb every moment of it, I was struck by the absurdity. 

The day before, I was asking the Universe for a good sign, because I had had a week of bad signs. Now here I was staying with a Survival Expert and watching the premiere of his new show on National Geographic with him (my big dream is to write for them one day). If that’s not a sign of the Universe looking out for me, I don’t know what is!

When I started giggling to myself and exclaimed to Reza ‘Isn’t life funny?! That of all the places in the world, it is has bought me right here. Right now. Doing this’. He grinned at me above the smoke and spindle in acknowledgement.  

“Life IS amazing. TRAVEL is amazing. Travel will take you to places you can’t even imagine. I wish more people understood just how amazing it really is.’

Firestarter. PIC by Corey Sandler.&nbsp;

Firestarter. PIC by Corey Sandler. 

After starting a little fire, hugs were exchanged and I hopped in the shuttle heading back to LA and to my flight to Santa Rosa and Portland. 

The driver was a refugee from Syria. He had once been a businessman of moderate success, owning his own manufacturing factories. All that was left behind in the effort to provide a better life for his three daughters. It had become too dangerous for his children to even step outside to get an education, as schools were targets. His livelihood was bombed and destroyed, but he remained optimistic.

“My daughters are safe and getting an education, and that’s what really matters,” he said. We spoke about how life can change in an instance and that there are no promises of permanency. While sad at the events that have happened, he was so grateful to be here in America. I left feeling reminded and grateful for the opportunities life has delivered me. 

Lost in thought, my taxi driver's life was a reminder that you never really know what is around the corner and no one is immune to life's surprises. The best traits to develop is the ability to adapt. To adapt to life's constant movements and the new circumstances in our life. The best things to invest in are memories and moments with our loved ones. 

TRAVEL will deliver you the right people at the right time, with the right messages. Old friends, new friends. Long moments, fleeting moments. For growth, for change, for insight. If you listen to the world, it will deliver the people you need, with the messages you need.

The O.C.

My last trip through America in 2012, was spiritual food for my soul. I was in the midst of one very, crazy separation and what felt like my whole life falling apart. Every day of that three-month trip, couch surfing my way across the country, was littered with magical moments and serendipitous encounters. Those times in the National Parks of the Grand Canyon, the Sequoias, the Redwoods, Yosemite and the Arches, where it felt like my breath was stolen, was what filled my life with wonder again. In many ways, it was what was really the seeds for this Canadian adventure. 

On that trip, I somehow ended up modelling for Couchsurfers in front of the ‘Full House’ house in San Francisco. Instant friendships were formed at this photo shoot, numbers were swapped, beautiful memories made. 

Couchsurfers shoot. PIC by Cristina De Cardenas

Couchsurfers shoot. PIC by Cristina De Cardenas

One blonde, bubbly Swedish-Spanish woman and I instantly became friends and we ended up travelling the north coast of California together. Cristina and I later reunited in Venice Beach and met up with Corey, who was the photographer for the Couchsurfers shoot. The three of us then hit the road to San Diego, checking out Dr. Seuss drawings and seals in La Jolla, sleeping in the dirt on the side of the road in Yuma, Arizona, making light paintings in the desert, and finally celebrated an epic Swedish Christmas in Tempe with other new friends. Corey and I rounded the trip out by spending our last night sleeping under the stars on a park bench in Joshua Tree National Park. The road trips taken that year through America were some of the best of my life. 

FOUR YEARS LATER, and I am back! Coming out of the hospital in LA, I realised I was craving a familiar face and the company of old friends. Within a few hours of hopping on a train south, I had met up with Corey and we headed to Long Beach. While he shot a sorority bash at this epic hotel, I wandered the grounds and watched the moon rise above the Queen Mary from the verandah. Magic.  

Long Beach. PIC by Corey Sandler.

Long Beach. PIC by Corey Sandler.

Long Beach. PIC by Corey Sandler.&nbsp;

Long Beach. PIC by Corey Sandler. 

Like no time had passed, the two of us were back to gypsy ways. However, this little adventure, we stepped it up and slept on lounge room floors instead of the side of the road (agreeing that this was indeed evidence that we were maturing along quite nicely, right?! Such adults). 

Mexican and flame grills, playing volleyball on the beach, checking out big boards, bodies and babes of Southern California followed. Corey and his mate Allen and I also attempted to stargaze again, searching for Mars in the sky. 

Roadtrippers reunited! Corey and I somewhere in SouCal. PIC by Reza Allah-Bakhshi.

Roadtrippers reunited! Corey and I somewhere in SouCal. PIC by Reza Allah-Bakhshi.

In my Arctic gear for Southern California. PIC by Corey Sandler.&nbsp;

In my Arctic gear for Southern California. PIC by Corey Sandler. 

Here I am, all rugged up ready to find Mars. And yes, I was in Southern California. Reason for my arctic gear, I was breaking out in welts from the cold. That’s right, the cold of Southern California. Haha. Yes.

I'm a big believer in signs. Whatever illness I had that landed me in hospital, had knocked me for six. My body was still under attack. It was swelling and my nerves were going all over the place - alternating between excruciating and numb. As my allergies were flaring up and I received messages from home that a friend was in the final stages of passing away, I started wondering if I was meant to be doing this adventure...

All these thoughts were rushing through my mind, when Corey asked if I would like to go to a friend's BBQ to watch the premiere of a new show his friend/ business partner was on. That's when I started feeling the signs shifting...